The 10 biggest oil consuming countries

The 10 biggest oil consuming nations account for more than 58% of the world's total oil consumption per day. The United States is the world's biggest oil consumer, followed by China, Japan and India. Hydrocarbons-technology.com profiles the 10 biggest oil consuming countries based on average daily oil consumption in 2012.


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The United States

The United States, the world's biggest oil consuming country, consumed 18.5 million barrels of oil per day (mbd) in 2012, which accounted for nearly 20% of the world's total oil consumption per day. The highest level of oil consumption in US history was 20.8mbd, which occurred in 2005. Consumption has since been declining, however, and the nation consumed 2.3% less oil in 2012 compared to the previous year.

This decline in oil consumption during recent years is attributed to increased natural gas production and consumption, and the use of more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The US is a net importer of oil, but its oil imports declined from 12.4mbd in 2005 to 7.4mbd in 2012 as its total oil production steadily increased from 8.3mbd in 2005 to 11.1mbd in 2012.

China

China's oil consumption stood at 10.3mbd in 2012, accounting for about 11.7% of the world's total oil consumption making it the second biggest oil consumer after the US. China's oil consumption has more than doubled since 2000 and the consumption in 2012 increased by five percent compared to the previous year.

China is also the second biggest oil importing country in the world currently and its net oil imports have steadily climbed up from 3.43mbd in 2008 to 5.86mbd in 2012. China's total oil production during the period increased from 4mbd to 4.4mbd and the country is likely to surpass the US as the biggest oil importing country in the near future.

Japan

Japan consumed 4.7mbd of oil in 2012, becoming the world's third biggest oil consumer, with about 5.3% of the world's total oil consumption. The country consumed more than 5mbd of oil from 1989 to 2007 and the highest oil consumption in its history was recorded at 5.7mbd in 1996. Japan's oil consumption steadily declined from 2005 to 2009, but increased thereafter. Its oil consumption in 2012 was 6.3% higher than in the previous year.

Japan possesses very limited oil resources and is the third biggest oil importing country after the US and China. Oil imports increased from 4.25mbd in 2009 to 4.57mbd in 2012 and the total oil production during the same period increased from 125,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 135,000bpd. Japan has the fourth biggest refinery capacity in the world and most of its crude oil imports are from the Middle East.

India

India ranks fourth among the world's biggest oil consuming countries, its oil consumption in 2012 stood at 3.6mbd, five percent higher than the previous year, accounting for about 4.2% of the world's average oil consumption per day during the year. The country's oil consumption has increased about three-fold in the last 20 years.

India is also the fourth biggest oil importer in the world and its net oil imports doubled over 12 years, from 1.3mbd in 2000 to 2.6mbd in 2012. The country's total oil production during the same period increased from 772,000bpd to 990,000bpd. India's proven oil reserves as of 2013 were estimated at 5.48 billion barrels. The country imports most of the crude oil from the Middle East and has the fifth biggest refinery capacity in the world.

Russia

At 3.2mbd accounting for about 3.6% of the world's total oil consumption per day in 2012, Russia is fifth among the world's biggest oil consuming countries. Russia's oil consumption declined from 4.4mbd in 1992 to 2.48mbd in 1998 and again surpassed 3mbd mark in 2011. Its average daily oil consumption in 2012 was 2.5% higher than the previous year.

Russia is the third biggest oil producer after the United States and Saudi Arabia, and the second biggest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia. The country's total oil production increased from 9.8mbd in 2008 to 10.4mbd in 2012 and its net oil exports during the same period increased from 6.89mbd to 7.2mbd. European countries, especially Germany, Netherlands and Poland, account for more than 80% of Russia's oil exports.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, the sixth biggest oil consuming country, consumed 2.86mbd of oil in 2012, accounting for about 3.1% of the world's total oil consumption per day. Average daily oil consumption in 2012 increased by 3.9% compared to the previous year, the highest level seen in the last 30 years.

Saudi Arabia is the biggest oil producer and exporter in the world and also holds the second biggest proven oil reserves in the world. The country's total oil production increased from 9.8mbd in 2009 to 11.7mbd in 2012, while net oil exports during the period increased from 7.62mbd to 8.86mbd. More than half of Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports go to the Far East Asian countries.

Brazil

Brazil is the world's seventh biggest oil consuming country and consumed 2.8mbd of oil in 2012, accounting for about three percent of the world's total oil production per day during the year. The country's oil consumption has steadily increased since 2008 and increased by 2.5% during 2011-2012.

Brazil is the biggest oil producing country in South America and its total oil production increased from 1.83mbd in 2004 to 2.65mbd in 2012. Brazil was a net petroleum exporter in 2008 but has been a net importer of petroleum since 2011. It imported more than 155,000bpd of oil in 2012 and had estimated proven oil reserves 13.15 billion barrels as of 2013. More than 90% of the country's oil production comes from offshore oil fields.

Germany

Germany is the eighth biggest oil consuming country in the world and the second biggest oil consumer in Europe, after Russia. Germany's oil consumption in 2012 stood at 2.4mbd, accounting for about 2.7% of the world's total oil consumption per day in the year, and has shown a declining trend since 2008. Germany consumed 0.7% less oil in 2012 compared to 2011.

Germany's oil imports are the sixth biggest in the world but declined from 2.39mbd in 2008 to 2.21mbd in 2012. Its total oil production during the period increased from 145,800bpd to 169,500bpd. The country imports crude oil via pipelines as well as sea ports and has the ninth biggest refinery capacity in the world.

South Korea

South Korea is the ninth biggest oil consumer in the world and consumed 2.3mbd of oil in 2012, about 2.3% of the world's total oil consumption per day. The country's oil consumption in 2012 was 2.5% higher than the previous year. Its average daily oil consumption has been constantly maintained at slightly more than 2mbd since 1995, with an exception in 1998 when it declined to 1.9mbd.

South Korea is the fifth biggest oil importing country in the world and its net petroleum imports increased from 2.1mbd in 2008 to 2.24mbd in 2012. The total oil production of the country increased from the minimal 33,600bpd to 61,000bpd during the same period. The country has the world's sixth biggest refinery capacity and imports more than 80% of its crude oil from the Middle East.

Canada

Canada is the world's tenth biggest oil consuming country and consumed 2.28mbd of oil in 2012, accounting for about 2.5% of the world's total daily oil production during the year. The country has been consuming more than 2mbd of oil since 1999 and its oil consumption in 2012 was 2.5% higher compared to the previous year.

Canada is the world's sixth-biggest oil producer, 11th biggest oil exporter, has the 10th biggest oil refinery capacity and holds the third biggest proven oil reserves, after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Canada's total oil production increased from 3.31mbd in 2009 to 3.85mbd in 2012 and its net petroleum exports during the period increased from 1.17mbd to 1.57mbd. The US accounts for almost all of Canada's oil exports.

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